If you’re unfamiliar with what a logline is, it’s basically your movie summed up in a Twitter post. They need not necessarily be that brief, but it’s a good benchmark. They’re what you first submit to producers when you seek them out. Loglines are pretty damn hard to write, at least halfway decent ones. For instance, who the hell knows if any of these would whet any appetites:
Colors – Two women’s journeys through worlds apart to find each other and be together again after unseen forces separate them.
I’m really passionate about this screenplay. This is my ‘passion project,’ you might say (which, regrettably, means it’s the one that will almost certainly never ever be made into an actual movie). I’m dearly in love with this story, because there’s a lot of myself in it. I only just did a rewrite where I changed the main character’s name to no longer be the same as my name (that was just a little too close).
But all that said, god I fucking hate this logline. It’s too “purple.” It’s not concrete enough. But the same probably goes for the project itself, sad to say. It’s what I’d call a “romantic fantasy.” It’s romance-driven, but it also contains elements of the supernatural (or maybe it’s the paranormal…I can’t remember the difference). I am just about finished farting out a full draft, which I’m reasonably jazzed to submit for feedback.
Three Sides – Three interconnecting stories explore themes of love, loyalty, moral ambiguity, and whether people truly are what they seem.
This was actually the first completed screenplay I ever wrote. I should probably just chuck it (I’ve already chucked the second completed screenplay I ever wrote), but I really love the interplay among the three storylines, and I figure three interwoven storylines isn’t wanky bullshit like Crash or something (and it’s not nearly so preachy as Crash, either). It needs a lot of work — frankly, there aren’t really any character arcs at all in it, but I’m just not ready to let this one go. As for the logline…ehh. I’m not really gonna have to worry about it for a while.
Nicholas – After a childhood friend dies in a car accident, Jeff starts to see him again, making him question his sanity.
Believe I mentioned that a lot of my story ideas start as dreams, and this one was no exception. I actually did have a childhood friend named Nicholas who died in a car accident (we weren’t super super close, though for some reason I hearken to remember that Nick’s was the first phone number I had of any person who wasn’t related to me), and one night I dreamed that he came back and talked to me. Yeah, this dream scared me pretty shitless, but this isn’t a horror story. It’s more psychological thriller. I think the logline is pretty good. It pretty well tells you everything you need to know.
Riding Free – Star cyclist Joey Chambers wrecks himself at a big race. He and a disgraced ex-pro form a new team to fight their way back to the top.
And now the cavalcade of sports. I have two screenplays in drafting development right now that directly concern sports, and a third that does peripherally. This story is…ehh, it’s really nothing special. It’s Disney Movie-of-the-Week fare. I just wanted to write this one about a sport I like in bicycling (not to the same extent as volleyball, obviously, but I do like and follow it) when there have been countless movies like this concerning basketball, baseball, and football. That might make for a compelling novelty here. This logline is okay, but it can probably be tightened a bit.
Bump, Set, Spike! – An eclectic ensemble work their way to the world club volleyball championships, but not without a few bumps in the road.
I mean, come on. You knew I had a volleyball screenplay. This, as the logline indicates is an ensemble affair. I imagine this movie would probably get a lighter rating than all my others were they to actually be made. Most of the stuff I write is R-rated fare; this one, probably PG-13 (probably same for Riding Free, too, actually). It’s a little lighter in tone, though still not exactly a comedy. The logline is nothing special — it really tells us nothing specific about the story, so it definitely needs to be revised or (more likey) just scrubbed.
Three Children – George and Annie, parents of six girls, decide to have one more child. They soon find out two of their daughters are also expecting.
In past instances of describing my in-development projects to people, I’ve held my nose and described this as a Lifetime movie. I hope to god it’s not that corny and awful like a Lifetime movie, but it’s definitely female-oriented (just like me, hahaha!). Or so I would have thought. I actually had a male reader give me positive feedback on it, which was a nice surprise. This is the one that peripherally involves sports, as the George character is a famous baseball pitcher. Don’t figure that’s important enough to work into the logline, because it’s definitely about families, and each expectant mother has her own story.
Alienation – A young woman returns to her hometown after an absence of several years to find that nothing is like what it was before.
This one is probably gonna end up being folded into another, as I’m having trouble coming up with main plots for it. The characters are dynamite, and so is the setting, but I’m not sure what actually happens in this one. So moving a little of that style to a script with some more substance is probably the best move.
Here and Now – Freshly paroled but still not quite straight and narrow, Kate meets someone at a grief and loss support group who changes her life.
This is actually the one I’ve been working on the most lately. I feel a little bit like I’m cramming 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag with this one, but I figure I’ll try to finish the draft before I ravage it too much. There’s…a lot going on in the first act here. Probably too much. The weird part is a lot of it wasn’t there when I first mapped out where this one was going, so the ideas I had at first are probably what’re gonna have to come out. This is still going to take quite a lot of work.
Annette and Myra – A neurotic bitch meets the survivor of a childhood tragedy, and together they find solace and healing in difficult times.
I like the “neurotic bitch” part, because it’s a perfect description of the character, and because it makes the logline stand out a little (though it does run the risk of sounding unprofessional), but the rest of it sounds so crushingly Eastern European. I haven’t done much work on this one at all — fact is, I just pulled the logline out of thin air right now. I’ll be coming back to this one in probably a few months’ time.
All of the above are meant to be feature-length projects, but I’ve also got some that are only meant as one-act short films. Firstly:
The House Call – A doctor is called to a troubled old friend’s home, while the friend is in crisis.
Whenever it finally does happen that I make a movie, this is probably going to be the first one. It’s a short script, it has 2 characters, and it takes place in a dingy apartment. All of which are pretty easy to come by. The logline is meager and nonspecific, but that’s because the story is too (the characters are never named). What’s more, if I’m making this one myself, it doesn’t really even need a logline.
The Last Ride – Adam Carroll ends up alone on a cold, deserted stretch of road. So he hitches a ride with the first person who will stop.
This one is probably going to end up getting scrapped, because it’s about 98.6 percent as predictable as you think it is from this logline. There is one aspect to it that I’m particularly fond of, but I don’t think it’s ultimately going to be enough to make this a project worth pursuing. Not in this form, anyway.
Burning Roses – Kai and Megan meet by chance, and share a night of passion, which takes them to two different places the next morning.
Frankly, I could make this one myself, too. It’s more complicated than The House Call, logistically, but still very simple. I don’t know if I could find two actresses willing to go to the places this movie would need to take them, though. It’s not porn, but it’s definitely erotica. There’s a pretty spectacular emotional level to the third act (and that’s one of the reasons I’m excited about this script, for as short as it is, it definitely has a beginning, middle, and end) that would require a deft touch, too.
But let’s be honest, the whole “getting naked” part is the big hurdle.
Pascal’s Wager – After his bank is stormed by robbers, Doug gets offered the chance at freedom if he kills one of his coworkers.
I really love the core idea, translating Pascal’s Wager (look it up if you don’t know it) into something modern and concrete, but the setting feels cliche as all hell. I’m holding on to this one, even considering writing it feature-length in addition to this one-act, but it may not end up in exactly the form it’s in now.